New Op-ed: The Long Game on Impeachment
The Long Game on Impeachment
Niccolo Machiavelli advised there was no end to conflict for the prince. Wisdom consists of choosing the option that places one in the most advantageous position for the next inevitable contest.
“A ruler must never imagine that any decision he takes is safe,” the West’s first political consultant advised the prince. “He should reckon that any decision is potentially dangerous.”
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reads her Machiavelli. The speaker of the House understands danger is all around.
On one flank she must placate her conference that has pitchforks and torches, itching to storm the castle.
Ahead of her, an impending report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and the widening investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham on the origins of Russia investigation. These threaten to expose the attempted coup Democratic partisans engineered with the help of intelligence operatives—the Russian collusion illusion.
Pelosi understands the efforts to frame President Trump could boomerang on her party. It would be a stunning reversal of fortune not seen since the Book of Esther when Haman was hanged on the gallows he constructed for his enemy. (Note that the release of the Mueller report marked the public unraveling of the Russian collusion narrative. The delivery of that report to the attorney general earlier this year coincided with the ancient holiday commemorating Haman’s undoing.)
The speaker also recognizes the weak slate of Democratic presidential candidates poses dangers for the re-election of her own the House majority.
This is the context in which Pelosi decided unilaterally to launch an “impeachment inquiry.”
She sees these contrived proceedings as providing the best path forward through the immediate dangers and with some long-term benefits as well.
Let’s go through these one by one.
A Prebuttal to Horowitz, Durham, and Barr
The impeachment spectacle is Democrats’ prebuttal to the investigations by Horowitz and Durham that likely will expose the plot to rig and undo the 2016 election. The coup plotters hope to divert attention by staging an even more spectacular show.
They don’t want to talk about their use of foreign and domestic intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 election so they gin up talk of the president soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.
Stakes could not be higher for the intelligence and political operatives. Faced with annihilation, they are employing the Cold War nuclear deterrence strategy—Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD. You try to take us out; we’ll take you out.
By game theory logic, the Justice Department will have to issue indictments to maintain the balance lest it tips in favor of the impeachment Democrats.
If the cost of criminal prosecutions for the Crossfire Hurricane skullduggery in 2015, 2016, and 2017 becomes too high, only then will the Democrats stop the impeachment drive.
Weak 2020 Presidential Candidates
The current impeachment effort dragoons the legislative branch into serving in political war against President Trump in the 2020 cycle.
It’s a suitable sequel to the Democrats’ unlawful enlistment of executive branch agencies, most notably but not only the Justice Department and intelligence entities, in their political effort to help Hillary Clinton win in 2016.
Pelosi knows the chances of the Republican Senate removing Trump are slim to none.
She also knows the chances of the presidential candidates her party currently offers are almost as slim. One can almost hear the rasp of Hillary’s “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?” rattling around in the brains of disturbed Democrats as they look at a lineup that includes an avowed socialist, a de facto socialist, and a senescent useful idiot.
A loyal soldier, Nancy will help the top of the ticket every way she can even if it means trashing the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution and its impeachment clause.
It does mean smearing President Trump with impeachment to rouse the Democrat base and turn off a measurable percentage of squishy Republicans of the Mitt Romney ilk.
The gamble is that it could rouse an even larger percentage of deplorables and swing voters who will punish the Democrats for playing politics this way.
But it’s a gamble she’s willing to take: “Any decision is potentially dangerous.”
Whether or not the impeachment effort succeeds in removing President Trump from office, it is a no-lose proposition. It advances some long-term goals of the establishment Left.
We Don’t Need an Elected Government
Look closely at the charges being leveled at the president. You see the conceit of the current impeachment outrage is that elected officials are merely window dressing for the permanent government.
How dare the president remove a diplomat!
How dare he use personal envoys and second-guess the Foreign Service!
It’s outrageous he overrides the decision made by the deputy assistant undersecretary of chair warming, in the Pentagon no less!
How do you justify the president going against his own government, Chris Wallace asks with a straight face.
Never mind that the president has the constitutional authority to do all those things—and more.
If you accept the premises that the career civil servants in the bureaucracy are best informed to make decisions, then you might ask why do we bother with elections anyway?
The complaint, “it’s about the way President Trump makes these decisions, he doesn’t go through the proper channels,” ignores the fact that he was elected because he promised to break some china (literally and figuratively).
Since its inception at the turn of the last century one of the tenets of the Progressive project has been rule by professional technocratic managers.
The Left largely has achieved that objective with the fourth branch of government, a bureaucracy with the inertia of millions bodies, trillions of dollars, and uncounted rules and regulations. The Leviathan conducts policy by autopilot, shuffling in the same direction regardless of who controls the White House or Congress.
President Trump dares to challenge the accreted power of this permanent government and has brought its existence out into the open and opened it for questioning. For that, he must be punished, howls the Beast.
Which brings us to the ultimate goal of the jihad against Donald J. Trump—it is not solely to remove him from office
Do Not Go This Way
The current impeachment spectacle, the latest blow in a barrage of affronts assaults and outrages leveled at President Trump, serves the same purpose as a head on a pike outside the castle.
It is a warning any future pretender to the throne: Do not go this way.
The Washington establishment wants everyone to know the only people welcome in Washington are those who’ve spent their entire career in government, academia, or think tanks. Outsiders need not apply.
The “good government” ethics laws of disclosure and divestiture would almost be enough to discourage anyone with success in the private sector from entering public service.
But what businessman with an independent streak in his right mind would enter the political arena after seeing how Trump’s enemies have torn at his business interests and family like a pack of hyenas devouring a wildebeest on the Serengeti.
The Trump presidency and the establishmentarians’ reaction to it, like a body rejecting a transplant, serves as a cautionary tale to any outsider.
This is our sandbox, say the political professionals. And we will go to any length to destroy you if you step into it.
-Curtis Ellis is Senior Policy Director for America First Policies.